In an article published on May 9, 2016 by Science Alert, journalist Fiona MacDonald reports on a new type of food wrap made from the silk protein fibroin. Researchers B. Marelli and colleagues from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University, U.S., developed a water-based fibroin protein suspension that self-assembles on the surface of food upon dip-coating. The researchers showed that strawberries and bananas dipped in the fibroin coating and stored at 22°C for seven days stay plump and fresh, while uncoated fruit discolor and lose their texture. The fibroin coating is edible and the researchers note that “fibroin is generally considered flavorless and odorless.” Further, they assessed the presence of metal elements in the silk suspension via coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The detection values for all considered elements were significantly below the toxicity levels in drinking water as defined in the World Health Organization guidelines, they report. The fibroin coating could be sprayed on fruit and vegetables to keep them fresh during transportation and storage, MacDonald writes.
Fiona Macdonald (May 9, 2016). “New plastic-free wrap keeps fruit fresh for more than a week outside the fridge.” Science Alert
Phys.org (May 6, 2016). “Silk keeps fruit fresh without refrigeration.”
Marelli, B. et al. (2016). “Silk fibroin as edible coating for perishable food preservation.” Scientific Reports (published online May 6, 2016).